Episode 3: Starfleet’s Women in Command

Erika Hernandez, Beverly Picard and Philippa Louvois

Jarrah, Sue and Grace discuss the Starfleet women who held the rank of captain, other than Captain Janeway, from the captain of the USS Saratoga in Star Trek IV to Erika Hernandez in Enterprise.

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Hosts: Jarrah, Sue and Grace

Editor: Jarrah

Transcript: Rhys – @lizardinexile

Download Transcript: PDF or Word

Notes and References:

    • Graphic list of all the female Trek captains, by imadoctornotadragonslayer
    • Theme Music for this episode is sounds and music from the TNG episode “All Good Things”
    • The Brenton J. Malin quote about Janice Lester is from  American Masculinity Under Clinton: Popular Media and the Nineties “crisis of Masculinity”, Peter Lang, 2005, p.113.
    • And here’s Amanda McBroom (who played Philippa Louvois in “The Measure of a Man”) singing “The Rose”:

 

  5 comments for “Episode 3: Starfleet’s Women in Command

  1. April 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Hi,

    Another fascinating ep, though it does seem like you barely have time to scratch the surface!

    Thoughts:

    Is it significant that the black female Captain was seen in a film directed by Nimoy (also bearing in mind that he probably didn’t have much scope to do that sort of thing in Search For Spock)?

    Number One, despite being a bold idea for the time, is a slightly problematic creation inasmuch as I feel there’s some tacit implication (probably quite unintentional but arising perhaps out of the writers’ inbred assumptions) that the only way a woman would reach a position of command is by shutting off her emotions.

    You mentioned that writing a gender-blank character and then casting a woman isn’t the only way to go – that there *are* differences between the sexes. Absolutely – one of the things I really like about Janeway is the kind of intimacy she sometimes shows with her crew,, something that simply wouldn’t work (at least not in the same way) with a male Captain. (I could go on…)

    I wonder if the lack of female Captains in DS9 was a little to do with Kasidy? Obviously she wasn’t Starfleet, but she was a female Captain, and to have had others in the mix might have seemed…I don’t know, a little superfluous/confusing? (It’s no argument, I know – despite Kira and Dax being steps forward for female characterisation, I think DS9 is unconsciously and consciously sexist a lot of the time. They had some really notable female characters – the female Changeling, Winn, Grilka, Natima Lang and so on, but but so many of the really successful supporting characters – Garak, Martok, Dukat, Damar, Weyoun…were men. And conscious sexism is almost inevitable when you have the Ferengi in the mix, but that’s a whole other subject)

    Hernandez aside, I was staggered by the lack of female Captains, alien and human, in both Enterprise and Voyager. Enterprise is, especially, a huge step backward into being a boys’ club, with one main female character heavily sexualised (though that improved) and the other made out to be rather ineffectual (though that also improved. But why only two women? If they could retcon the female Captains they could retcon the ‘one third of the crew’ business). But just try finding women in any position of authority in any race in Enterprise! Interesting that it’s Travis’ brother who is in line to take over the family ship after his father died, rather than their mother…

    I have gone on a bit. Sorry. But you’re tapping into a deep well of frustration for me here…

  2. Andrea
    April 18, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    I feel SO vindicated that you dedicated some time to Philipa. Because that has long been my favorite line OF ALL TIME. There can’t be very many people that can get away with calling the righteous Picard a pompous ass!!!

  3. Aerwidh
    April 27, 2015 at 3:34 am

    Interesting episode. I also really liked Captain Phillipa in the episode about Data’s possible sentience 🙂

    On the topic of the comments around 41 minutes, about Janeway not being able to have a relationship, compared to other captains, I have few thoughts (possible spoilers)…

    Janeway’s attitude to relationships seemed, at least to me personally, to be more about not having a relationship with an officer or crewmember, which most of the time was all she had to work with, given their situation. She always was really strict about certain principles (except on the rare occassion when the writers decided she wasn’t), so I think it’s very much in character, although I think developing the thing with Chakotay would have made sense considering the writing in the early show.

    As I recall (and I might be wrong), of the few relationships Picard had, the only one which involved another officer or crewmember was the one with a piano playing science officer, and I seem to recall that she had to transfer because Picard could not be entirely objective when she was involved?

    Kirk was just Kirk in an era where things were not nearly as formal and structured, and I think even he usually did not end up with Starfleet women.

    Don’t know about Sisko or Archer, as I never could get into DS9 or Enterprise.

    Anyway, will be listening to your other episodes 🙂

  4. Sparrow
    June 27, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    First off, keep up the awesome work on the podcast. I’ve only just started listening and I am thoroughly enjoying your discussion and analysis. I have to nitpick just one little thing though– why’s Erika Hernandez in late DS9-era uniform up there? Shouldn’t she be in 22nd century blue Starfleet jumpsuit? Anyway, just a teeny nitpick amidst some great work. Keep it up. 🙂

    • June 29, 2015 at 7:37 am

      Thanks for the note! Sharp eye! I chose that picture purely for aesthetic reasons – it was higher resolution than most of the ENT screencaps I found and I liked the visual symmetry of showing all three women with their four gold pips.

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